The 2012 campaign has started, and President Obama is raising money and laughing all the way to the bank. So far the slate of opponents looks, well, pathetic. Obama could only hope to run against the likes of Palin or, better yet, Trump. But of course, neither is a serious candidate.
As for the rest, well, they are either laden with heavy baggage or have little or no name recognition. At this stage in the game, it looks like Obama has an easy path to a second term.
Michelle Bachman, the tea party lady? He could only hope. Newt Gingrich? The man with higher negatives than Nancy Pelosi? Mike Huckabee, the Jared of the Republican Party? Bobby Jindal, who was booed off stage during his "Republican Response" to the State of the Union address? Jeb Bush? His chances were sunk by his Brother. It is a sad lot of candidates - the rest being the usual tired assortment of middle-aged white men.
And it is sad, as when one party is weak, it is not good for America. A strong opposition is essential to a strong Democracy. And when we have nothing but fringe candidates from the opposition party, it does not bode well for the country.
Now that Obama is in office, and now that people are realizing that his politics aren't as radical as first thought, a lot more major donors (wealthy people, corporations, special interest groups) are donating heavily to the campaign.
(That is, of course, unless you are an unhinged right-wing nutjob. In that case, the Socialist State has already been created and any day now, a "state of emergency" will be declared, the government will be made subservient to the U.N. and our currency to will convert to the "Amero". But if you think that, you are not being very rational).
So this time around, it is not an "outsider" running against the establishment, using our little $10 and $20 Internet donations to win, but rather an insider hitting up the same odious people that Hillary slept with, or that Bush played golf with, to raise large amounts of money in short periods of time.
I still get e-mails from the Obama campaign, but for the most part, it seems like they are just going through the motions this time around. Please donate what you can, yea, yea, yea, if you feel like it, whatever. Got any rich friends? Have them call us. Yea, and send your $20, whatever. Thanks.
It just seems like he is phoning it in, this time around, and not really trying to raise grass roots awareness, like last time.
And if the Republican field continues as it is - with no break-out front runner, then he may be safe. But if the campaign turns into a really disputed election - where the Republicans put up a moderate candidate who appeals to a wide cross-section of voters - then the failure to get out the grass roots vote may backfire.
And the Republicans could win, too - provided they put up someone with a platform that goes beyond Birther mentality or far-right ideology. The backlash against the state employee and teacher's unions is not something that should be taken lightly. We all get property tax bills and those bills are pretty staggering. I sold my home in New York when Mine topped $7000 a year. Others are in the five-digit territory.
And yet, Obama talks about "investing in education" which is code words for "pandering to the teacher's union". We spend more per capita on education than any other country in the world, and yet our students graduate from high school with the lowest test scores of any Western nation. Perhaps throwing more money at the union is not a good idea.
And perhaps it is not good politics, either. Change is the platform he ran on, and continuing on the same bloated school bureaucracies is not "change", but rather just pandering to a different portion of the Status Quo.
Fortunately for Obama, the Republicans don't get this, and are instead moving to close primaries - so that even more radical candidates will prevail in the primaries. As a result, we can expect an opponent who is so far off-the-wall that people will be willing to tolerate a little softness on the unions on Obama's part.
After all, it has to be better than some tea-bagging patriot birther, conspiracy theorist, right?
But all it would take is for the Republicans to nominate someone who at least appears to be normal - middle of the road, moderate, not "scary" - and they can win. Someone like that would appeal to the voters of Northern Virginia.
If they can win Northern Virginia, they win Virginia. And then they win.